Book Review: “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland” by Patrick Radden Keefe

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern IrelandPatrick Radden Keefe’s new book “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in North” is nauseating yet critical material, detailing the absence of winners in the quaintly labeled “troubles”of Northern Ireland, not even haughty Margaret Thatcher nor master of prevarication Gerry Adams. The list of those having lost is enormous and remains growing — those who gave their lives over to an eventually corrupted solitary idea of saving/freeing being in conflict with the political powers who deliberately deluded the those doing the fighting by keeping to themselves from the beginning that compromise, at best, would be the outcome.

No one should righteously pretend to have any answers for solving this quagmire because there are none. A segment of the UK situated at the top of the Republic of Ireland is obviously an anomaly. From a distance, it makes no sense. Could the majority Protestants surrounded in the North not enjoy the same or even a better life if joined with the rest of the heavily Catholic population of Eire? Or would such bring forth an implosion of cultural identity as well as a never-ending cycle of recriminations? Is the hatred between the two now too hardwired? But then what will happen if/when the Catholics out-number the Protestants up north? Multiple questions, few if any answers.

Built around the December 1982 abduction of mother-of-ten Jean McConville from her apartment in Catholic Belfast, Keefe seemingly determines the killer although some of the evidence remains disputed. That mystery is the backbone of this book but overall coverage of this conflict is also thoroughly presented.

O Say Can You See It’s All About Me, Me, Me

narcissimI’m a rainmaker, just pissing all over yours and you
a money whore galore, hey that’s just how I roll
A gentleman farmer, growing a bumper cash crop
I’m at the top, ain’t gonna drop, with no plans to stop

I fix matters fortuitously fruitful
betting on despair is just part of the plan
looting coffers and avoiding all blame
Barons of robbery know no professional shame

Impunity, immunity, it’s about the I’s and no U’s
whatever I desire is going to be mine, mine, mine
go big and go large and go deep and go long
I can’t go wrong ’cause there are no words to that song

You call me the rapaciously evil devil of the vault
label me a dollar bill Caligula or a close derivative
I live so fine for simply making figures align
I’m a financial whiz, there’s no her or his, just mine

When Too Much Is Not Enough

At the top o’ the heap by rigging the rules
keeping the money flowing to their favorite political tools
discarding the bereft like yesterday’s trash
after fleecing ’em out of their homes and cash

It’s full bore patriotism to the almighty dollar
but never ever is heard any painful blue blood holler
from the wallets of our very own kith and kin
the elite steal from early and often


They win or lose on whichever path they choose
but triumph or fail, they always will prevail
’cause they’re calling the dance at the predator’s ball

The rich and powerful sup at the trough
they’re brilliant, they deserve it — cough, cough
junk bonds and derivatives crosses of the alter
financiers as deities, surely none will falter

It’s a no product, nothing built, sleight of hand
just vast paper castles built on quicksand
with the tap of a key, so easy to perform
no muss, no fuss, just economic porn


Profit on the guaranteed demise of others
sacrifice for the low level sisters and brothers
but just when is enough and at what cost?
and to what degree of our paradise lost?

What about he who finishes first, shall be last?
it’s fundamental scripture — the die is cast
but in a country worshiping grandiose greed
Caesar and mammon are the twin masters’ creeds


Yes, they package and trades things invisible
insulated from the fickle ol’ bear and bull
insured from calamity by the full faith and credit
of the ordinary folk who will never ever get it
they’re simply too big to fail or take down
they’re America’s terrorists, they own your town
salute and subjugate to the new holy crown

Book Review: “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America” by Nancy MacLean

The name James M. Buchanan likely first brings to mind the 15th President of the United States. However, the full name of the former president is actually James Buchanan Jr., not James M. Buchanan. However, the latter is surprisingly a more intriguing if much lesser recognized figure.

James M. Buchanan, who died in 2013, was a Nobel laureate economist touting his specific brand of economic libertarianism while a professor at such schools as University of Virginia, UCLA, Virginia Tech and George Mason University.  But the freedom he promoted was more a bedrock for a minority of powerful elites to abuse and sustain power while wreaking havoc on the middle and lower classes of this country. Buchanan was against voting rights, labor unions, majority rule, public social programs such as Social Security and Medicare, et al, because the free market and the individual person and state triumph all. Segregation, poll taxes, sharecropping, slavery and worse were not of concern to him.  In fact, MacLean notes one of Buchanan’s tenets being people who fail to save for the future are ne’er-do-wells to be treated as inferiors. In his reality, the so-called economic freedom of a few was of utmost importance and federal programs to address the needs of the actual majority were simply an unfair financial imposition on the wealthy.

Buchanan and his ideas eventually became the darling of the Koch Brothers who aided in the funding of various collegiate economics department positions and usually controlled who was hired. He and others (although some became disillusioned with the manipulation of their academic work) provided intellectual ammunition for these wealthy businessmen and any semblance of the war of ideas became subverted.

However, unshackling the rich from the burden of contributing to the well-being of greater society was wildly unpopular both politically and economically. For example, this minority viewed the graduated income tax as “a devouring devil, tantamount to slavery.” Thus the gorilla in living room of this political domain was the inability to win this argument by persuasion. Theoretically standing on ideas and letting the chips fall where they may morphed into the rules needed to be rigged in order to garner further political and economic power. Theories became bastardized, cropped short and sized to fit (thank you to the late Dave Carter) in whatever manner and situation. Creative application of economic analysis became the norm because masses have the unacceptable tendency  to vote for the collective and not for millionaires and billionaires.

It was also necessary to repress the majority socially, politically and economically through such tactics as poll taxes, literacy tests, other voting restrictions and more, including the push for eliminating needs-based scholarships and reducing public and college university budgets, thus making tuition costs skyrocket. All this and more became part and parcel of the on-going push for privatization and deregulation.

MacLean also includes coverage of such historical figures as John C. Calhoun, Barry Goldwater, Milton Friedman and David Stockman as related to this topic.

Again, there is more history here that will never be found in school text books.

Other articles of interest on this subject:

“The beliefs of economist James Buchanan conflict with basic democratic norms. Here’s why.” Michael Chwe

“The Architect of the Radical Right” Sam Tanenhaus